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  • APA-IL Webmaster

    This is an excellent discussion between four professionals whose work involves food access via (see article below).David Procter is the director of the Kansas State Rural Grocery Initiative; Samina Raja is a professor of urban and regional planning who focuses on food access and food systems planning at University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning; Ashanté M. Reese is an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology working on food and race and food inequities at Spelman College; and Sarah Reinhardt is the lead food systems and health analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment program. Civil Eats’ editor-in-chief Naomi Starkman and managing editor Matthew Wheeland facilitated the wide-ranging discussion.”

    After reading through the article, the general theme is that there’s still work to be done. We’re curious – how has food access in Illinois improved over the last 10 years? What work is left to be done?

    After a Decade of Food Access Work, Are People Eating Any Healthier?

    Janna Simon

    There has been a coalition of public health, anti-hunger, agricultural, and food systems partners working to establish the Healthy Local Food Incentives Fund in Illinois, to help more equitably fund access to double-value coupon programs at farmers markets for people using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars. This year, we sought an appropriation in the state’s FY 2020 budget, and received commitments from lawmakers for the appropriation, but are still working to determine how best to get the $500,000 dedicated to this effort into the Fund. Essentially, if the program is funded, people using SNAP could swipe their LINK cards for $10 and get $20 of local produce at the farmers market, benefiting families and farmers across the state. Hopefully this will increase access to healthy foods!

    APA-IL Webmaster

    That’s amazing, Janna! Will this program be part of the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program? We just read the Double Up 5-year impact report and the bottom line: “For every $1 Fair Food Fund invested, [the Fair Food Network] helped generate nearly $9 in community benefits”. That’s a great return on investment!

    How can we address barriers to initial and return visits to farmer’s markets? Would transportation assistance be a part of Illinois’ program?

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